Last semester in my computer science course I had to research a topic and how it connected to computer science and how computers are making a difference in today’s world. As a knitter (and now crocheter and spinner) I took the opportunity to write about knitting and how it relates to computer programming and learning. The relationships and correlation are pretty spectacular and I enjoyed learning about all of this.
I am a math major with a computer science minor who very much so enjoys programming as much as I like to knit. I’m also a book nerd and baker – but that’s getting off topic. Anyway, both knitters and programmers use the same part of the brain; and, some of the world’s most famous computer scientists have been known to sharing the common interest of knitting.
This blog post is a little different than what I usually write about here but I think it’s awesome that people who are good with knitting may actually be good at computer programming and vice versa. You never know until you try! I encourage all knitters to maybe think about getting involved with the computer world (it may just click with you faster than you think and is a great skill, especially in this digital age) and for all programmers to try your hand at knitting (it’s a nice way to relax after a long day of staring at a computer screen, yet still using those same kind of repetitive skills that go along with certain algorithms)
This paper was co-written by my friend, Rachel and the sources we used are below. An excerpt can be found below along with the PDF of this paper.
“When thinking about knitting, most people imagine scarves, hats, sweaters, and other apparel. The thought process behind creating these articles of clothing is indeed very creative. “Creative thinking is defined as the flexible innovative application of domain-specific knowledge resulting in novel and useful products or creative solutions to a clearly defined problem” (Black et al 132). When programmers sit down to write source code, they too are utilizing this same definition of creative thinking. Both knitters and programmers are working to solve a solution to a specific problem, whether it be figuring out how many stitches to decrease and increase by to make the heel of a sock or how to code an online game when the user selects a particular option. The creative thought process also includes two different, yet vital types of thinking known as divergent and convergent thinking. “Divergent thinking involves the generation of as many solutions as possible to a given problem while convergent thinking involves the weighting of several possibilities to focus on the best possible answer” (Black et al 132). There are thousands of ways to create an infinity scarf of a total length of 5.5 feet and there are many ways to code a program to read in a line of input from a file and insert that into a data structure – these are examples of divergent thinking. This thought process includes the ability to think flexibly, originally, and complexly – all of which are qualities that knitters and computer programmers possess (Black et al 132). On the other hand, convergent thinking uses logic, speed, accuracy and refinement to figure out which possibility is the most efficient to a given problem (Black et al 133). For instance, the speed of the knitter, the most logical stitch pattern, and the knitter’s accuracy are components that are considered with convergent thinking. Likewise, the speed of the executable program, the length of the final source code, and the accuracy of the program are considerations when writing a program for a detailed task. These are ways that computer programmers and knitters apply convergent thinking. With a balance of both convergent and divergent thinking to produce a baseline for the creative thought process, it is evident that both fields use creativity in their work and therefore have a similar thought process to solve a problem.”
To continue reading, please see the PDF: Knitters Making an Impact in the Computer World